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Have you recently used antenatal, postnatal, or early years services in the UK? Tell a Cross Government Group on Early Years Family Support, about your experiences - £300 to be won!

84 replies

EmmaMumsnet · 04/03/2019 17:19


As lots of Mumsnet users will know, having a new baby can be incredibly exciting and rewarding - but it can also be really challenging, and lots of new parents make use of classes and services to try to find information, get support, or just make some fellow new-parent friends.

A UK Government Ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support has been set up to improve these services, and its members want to hear about Mumsnet users’ experiences. They want to hear your feedback about pregnancy, baby and parenting services offered across the UK by the NHS, local government and charities. This includes (but isn’t limited to) help from health visitors, ante- and post-natal classes, breastfeeding support, parenting classes and peer support groups; the sort of thing you’d access if you are expecting a child or have a child under 2. Part of the Group‘s focus is perinatal mental health and how to effectively support wellbeing for babies and new parents.

Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons and Chair of the Group, says: “The importance of the first 1,001 days of a child’s life has been a personal passion of mine for a long time. I am so looking forward to working with Mumsnet to hear about your experiences as an expectant or new parent. Your feedback will help us shape future services for other parents and babies.”

So please tell us about what services you are currently using or have recently used, how you came to find them (and how easy this was), whether they were compassionate, effective, fun and/or useful (or not), and how you think support for new families could be improved.

If you’ve got any suggestions for additional services you’d have liked to use that don’t exist or you couldn’t access, please let us know about those too. We’d also love to hear about the importance of location for you when you choose between services.

Everyone who shares their experiences of pregnancy and baby services they have used will be entered into a prize draw to win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).



Terms and conditions apply

Have you recently used antenatal, postnatal, or early years services in the UK? Tell a Cross Government Group on Early Years Family Support, about your experiences - £300 to be won!
Have you recently used antenatal, postnatal, or early years services in the UK? Tell a Cross Government Group on Early Years Family Support, about your experiences - £300 to be won!
Have you recently used antenatal, postnatal, or early years services in the UK? Tell a Cross Government Group on Early Years Family Support, about your experiences - £300 to be won!
OP posts:
BristolMum96 · 04/03/2019 17:48

Everything from ante natal through to now (approx 1 year old baby) has been dreadful. Lacking in care, compassion, good choices, interest, safety, effectiveness.... you name it. Shocking from start to present.

cupoftea84 · 04/03/2019 19:08

Nct very good. Visit to the labour ward at hospital was good.

Birth was traumatic and had a debriefing where the bad communication was acknowledged as well as the anthatist being on bad form (he's going to be told I'm assured) so the debriefing helped massively.

Not being allowed partner at the hospital because I was unlucky enough to go into labour at night was horrendous and unfair.

Breast feeding cafe with baby massage at children's centre is amazing.

Weigh ins seem pointless as if they slip percentiles they don't actually do anything (I've stopped going it was just making me feel bad).

Health visitor isn't interested and haven't seen her since just after the birth- I think we're too middle class so she's decided we don't need help. Quite wrong actually assuming that just because I have a decent job and a nice house. I've found my own support at the breast feeding cafe in the children's centre.

GPs surgery a nightmare to make appointments and contributed to difficulties after the birth.

SinkGirl · 04/03/2019 19:28

Where to start?

Found out at my 12 week scan I was having twins so treated as high risk. I suffered from severe tokophobia and had a community midwife who was fantastic but consultants were very patronising and wouldn’t discuss a c section until I was very far along. Maternity counselling was wonderful and a great help.

My midwife sent me into hospital as I wasn’t feeling well - within two hours of arriving my twins were born by emcs, I can’t fault their speed and efficiency and they saved my twins lives. However, they were immediately taken away and I was told nothing at all, and wasn’t able to go and see them for around 7 hours which was excruciating.

One of my boys spent two months in NICU which was incredibly hard. There was no emotional support whatsoever and I really struggled. More importantly there was no feeding support, I believe they didn’t want mums to breastfeed and I ended up pumping for seven months.

My first health visitor was great, but I’m on my fourth now as they kept moving boundaries around. I was clearly suffering with birth trauma and severe PND but no one picked up on it.

We had excellent care from the neonatal team for their first year, but after that things haven’t been great. I knew they both had problems from around a year old and I am sure my HV at the time knew as well (she once described them both as having “special needs” and it really upset me - just recently they’ve been diagnosed with ASD, I wish she had made a referral back then).

Children’s centres have been fantastic, the only place I can take the twins on my own as the staff really help. These are vital spaces but the only one within walking distance now has no groups for toddlers due to cuts. It’s an amazing play space and most of the time it’s empty, which is heartbreaking. The government needs to invest in children’s centres, they are so important.

Postnatal care was completely non existent. I ended up with cellulitis. I find it incredible that you can have an emergency open abdominal surgery and have zero follow up apart from a midwife checking your stitches, that’s absolutely disgraceful.

I now work as a patient representative for my local maternity service and changes are happening but slowly. A new postnatal care pathway has been implemented in our county which seems to be helping.

My experience is that there’s plenty of support when you’re pregnant for the most part (I needed counselling and physio during pregnancy and both happened within a week of referral) but once your baby is born it feels like there’s nothing in place physically or mentally to support you. My pregnancy was tough but nothing compared to those first few months as a parent.

friskybivalves · 04/03/2019 19:36


GetSchwifty · 04/03/2019 19:50

My pregnancy care was pretty good, I mostly had the same midwife for all my appointments. The care in the hospital was good initially, but lacking on the post natal ward. The staff just don’t have time to help with your baby so you have to struggle on regardless of what state you are in. This is so bad for new mothers mental health.

My son was diagnosed with a tongue tie and referred to the surgeon(?) who deals with this, but I was warned that there would be a wait for an appointment. There was no way I could wait and still breastfeed so I was, luckily, able to have it cut privately. How can the nhs support breastfeeding but make mothers wait a month to fix a tongue tie? It’s agony trying to feed a baby with a tongue tie. Again, this is so detrimental to new mothers mental health.

My health visitor is excellent though. She is so easy to talk to and she really knows her stuff. Her advice is really sensible and not just anecdotal.

MrsBadCrumblesClarinet · 04/03/2019 20:04

Antenatal care with my first was good but second time around I've hardly been given any information. Just because it's m my second, doesn't mean I remember everything!
Birth care was great however having to stay on the post natal ward afterwards was miserable. DH was sent home and I felt like a failure because I had to plead with a midwife to take my baby to the nursery for a couple of hours so I could sleep. We had to stay in two nights simply because there wasn't a doctor available to do the checks. What a waste of resources.
The children's centres are brilliant. Such a lifeline for parents who don't have friends with kids. My health visitor was lovely but the weigh in clinics were useless. Every time we went, they plotted his weight wrong and gave me unnecessary worry.

TheGirlWithGlassFeet · 04/03/2019 20:05

I think that the quality of care generally comes down to the individual you are dealing with. My first midwife was terrible. Couldn't care less during my antenatal appointments and spent more time talking about her early retirement than my pregnancy. My second midwife was brilliant and really made me feel I could talk to her about anything.

I can't even remember the health visitor with my first baby. I think I might have seen her once or twice and then a different HV at each developmental review but to be fair everything was fine. My second baby had lots of health problems and the HV was fantastic and very involved in the care.

I did unfortunately get post natal depression and the care for this has been lacking. I went to the GP and broke down and was prescribed anti depressants. I've been on them now for about 7 months and haven't seen a GP or had a follow up since. The repeat prescriptions are just renewed by a telephone service. I did self refer for CBT which I did by telephone which helped but again there hasn't been any follow up and I do feel a bit isolated.

Elllicam · 04/03/2019 20:06

My prenatal care was good with my last pregnancy, I was supported well through gestational diabetes, reduced movements and a generally high risk pregnancy. I had to go to triage a couple of times and they were really reassuring. I had a planned csection which went well and I felt comfortable. My immediate post natal care in recovery was good although I was told to take paracetamol despite telling the nurse I felt sick, I then vomited profusely for a good while. I was not happy at all with my care in the postnatal ward. The staff were not supportive of breastfeeding at all and if I wasn’t fairly confident I would have given up.

DoraBastable · 04/03/2019 20:21

I really struggled to breastfeed my ds2 and found it impossible to access effective breastfeeding support on the NHS, despite being in the paediatrics ward of the hospital and repeatedly asking for help. In the end I got help from La Leche League. The only help offered on the NHS came 2 weeks after I was discharged, via a phone call. If I had not already had a successful breastfeeding experience and was fairly confident and determined, I am sure I would have given up.

Fefifoefum · 04/03/2019 21:55

It’s been a very mixed bag for me. It’s the eve of my baby’s first birthday so this seems very apt!

My antenatal care was standard, I didn’t gel with my midwife, but she was compassionate and kind, I felt well cared for. A few of the mums I’ve spoken to since birth have said they had a home visit to discuss birth plans etc, I feel that would be helpful, also from a safeguarding point of view for the midwife no?

I ended up becoming extremely anxious regarding the birth and ended up self referring to the local peri-natal mental health service at 35 weeks, the care I received was expeceptional. I spoke over the phone to a nurse who armed me with some CBT techniques, which really helped.

My care in labour was fantastic, midwifery led unit attached to main hospital, good birth, big PPH but well controlled.

Post natal care- terrible. The post natal ward was shocking, not even a basic hello, not even shown where the toilet was. I’d lost 2 litres of blood and no one did my blood pressure.... at all. Dangerous at best.

Midwife care at home, terrible, never saw the same person twice, rushed, baby not gaining weight, no support with breastfeeding. Discharged at 10 days despite baby not being back at birth weight.

I went to a local breastfeeding support group at 2 weeks, run in the local children’s centre (action for children). Run entirely by peer supporters who had very militant views on breastfeeding.

Perinatal mental health team kept in touch via phone calls, and did a home visit when I was quite bad. Had PND. Went to the GP on advice of perinatal mental health team. Excellent GP, really supportive. Anti depressants have worked really well for me, have had a 6 month review with the same GP. Really good.

Health visitor, brilliant, I cried at a weigh in clinic, she came to my house the following week, and in fact weekly for 6 weeks, partly due to the slow weight gain of baby, partly because I cried I think.... really supportive, still breastfeeding at almost a year and I think I owe her that! However our health visiting service is run by Virgin Care, profit seems to be the aim of the game, they’ve removed the health visitors from clinic, no more home visits unless exceptional circumstances, I fear women and children will get missed, which is such a shame, my health visitor was incredible.

My main support has been through a local charity, they run a baby group in a nursing home, which is amazing, I’ve made some brilliant friends, it’s free, it runs even in school holidays/bank holidays. The charity is headed up by a mental health nurse, she also runs baby massage which I attended and an amazing support group for mums, in the pub! No babies, gin and decent chat, it’s saved me!

I’ve never had a problem with my mental health, until pregnancy/post nasally. I’ve had some really great support, it’s just a shame the best has been from a charity, who struggle for funding.
I’m a bit emotional now! I’ve come so far in a year. Now volunteering for the charity!

meow1989 · 04/03/2019 21:59

I think I was lucky with my antenatal care, always saw the same midwife who was on the end of the phone within at least 2 days if I needed her for questions. I had a complicated delivery (failure to progress culminating in emcs as his heart rate kept dipping) but everyone from the domestic staff to the consultants were brilliant.

I I DS had tongue tie from a few hours after he was born, I could see it and my ripples were blistered from the first feed. I was told he didn't by the covering infant feeding coordinator. Following a referral on day 5 by my community midwife he had a 95% tie separated. By this time i was blistered, bleeding and in pain.

I had mastitis twice and once ended up in a and e. Despite going to a UNICEF level 3 hospital, a and e drs told me that I would have to send my baby home with formula whilst I was admitted at 11 days. I refused and contacted the midwifery unit myself and they negotiated a ward for me to stay on if someone else was with me. I was told by the consultant (general medicine) that his wife had had mastitis and I just had to grit my teeth and get through it when I was crying at the thought of latching DS. I only managed to feed ds exclusively for 11 days which i do have guilt about.

The children centre group for breastfeeding were helpful in that they gave me the reassurance that it was ok not to breastfeed.

I haven't seen any health visitor since my 6 week check but assume if I need them they would be contactable (as they were when i had a few early day issues with formula feeding).

RicStar · 05/03/2019 08:35

My ante natal care was brilliant - saw same two experienced midwives- saw them post natally too that was also really good. (Complete contrast to my first two pregnancies where it was different people every time and felt entirely faceless and a hassle for having a couple of minor medical issues). Health visitor service also good. Well baby Clinic only every other week - be good if they put the dates online as they don't answer phone (screen calls) so it's hard to check. Just had baby weighed there which was fine. Main health visitor was good only saw her twice (did not need more) but she was approachable and turned up when we had agreed. I don't think there are any other general services locally - no ante natal hospital visits / breast feeding cafe at our children centre etc it's all been cut so is only targeted things now. My experience on post natal ward (actually a mixed ante / post natal ward with far far too few midwives) was horrific and dangerous- much worse than previously - that is outside the scope of this study I think but that needs investment badly.

RicStar · 05/03/2019 08:44

I did nct with my first - that is good for support/ friendd. Lots of new baby activities where I live but they are all £££ but good. I used to love things like messy play / baby music at the children's centre but they have all been cut since my first (6 years ago) and now any general sessions are so busy it is a lottery if you will get in. Mumsnet is good for virtual support - if you post in the right place (not aibu(!)).

m0jit0 · 05/03/2019 09:42

The community care I received Antenatally was great, saw the same two midwives throughout and it was at my local gp practice so v handy. My labour and birth wasn't ideal, fairly drawn out then they finally figured out the reason she wasn't coming out easily was that she was back to back so a trip to theatre and forceps ensued. On the post natal ward the care was pretty poor, the staff were in general fab but just so over stretched. Medication rounds were very late or non existent yet they weren't keen on you "self prescribing" (ie taking your own paracetamol and not theirs!). Lack of breastfeeding knowledge particularly by the night staff was very apparent.
The midwife who came to see us after we got home was horrible, made me feel hugely guilty that my baby had lost weight (7% at the maximum) and very scathing that we had bathed her and of how I was breastfeeding her (my position was rubbish but it was the only way she would latch).
Thankfully the health visitor took over at 10 days pp who was lovely and so helpful! Our local breastfeeding group was amazing too and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't have continued breastfeeding for as long as I did.

SinkGirl · 05/03/2019 09:55

As demonstrated in these responses already, the NHS rely too much on peer support for breastfeeding and don’t think they need to provide anything in some areas. I couldn’t get to any groups (one twin at home, one still in nicu from 2-8 weeks after birth) and I had zero help - unless you count someone looking for a second and saying “latch looks fine, can’t see a tongue tie”

Trained peer supporters are a valuable resource and should be able to run groups on postnatal wards / NICUs which happens in some areas but isn’t permitted here. But peer supporters are not medically trained and there needs to be proper staffing in place to ensure those with a higher level of need get it met - an IBCLC at every hospital would be a start, or at least contracted by one to take referrals from NHS staff (paid by the NHS). Breastfeeding saves the NHS money in the long run, so even looking at this cynically it’s worthwhile.

Right now whether you can get support bfing is not just a postcode lottery, but a lottery based on which midwife, health visitor, NICU nurse etc you have. That’s not acceptable.

The town next to me have recently trained up maternity support workers as “breastfeeding super supporters” - they are available on the phone 24/7, run groups and can make visits. I’ve spoken to many women who are only bfing because of this service.

In my town? Nothing. It’s literally 2 miles down the road. It’s appalling.

SinkGirl · 05/03/2019 09:57

And many don’t realise that HV services are being sold off to the highest bidder around the country - I’m in meetings where the HV leads locally are currently discussing bidding to keep their service rather than it being packaged up and sold off to a company where profits are as much of a factor as patients. This is stealth privatisation and needs to stop.

SinkGirl · 05/03/2019 09:59

(sorry, keep forgetting things!) the local HV lead explained to me that at present they go beyond their contracted requirements to liaise with midwifery about patients and provide a seamless service. If the service is sold off, that simply won’t happen as it won’t be contracted.

Penhaligon · 05/03/2019 12:07

This was my second baby so I think I was treated differently.
Pregnancy: I only saw a midwife and she was quite slap dash in her approach, forgetting to do things and assuming all would be well. During this time she was also off quite a lot so I saw different midwives so the continuity of care wasn't there.
I wasn't offered ante natal classes.
Post birth- I had a spontaneous delivery at home and the care from the paramedics and later the hospital was great. The midwife team didn't turn up for my first visit at home and I really needed to see them as I could barely walk or sit down due to the speed of my delivery. When someone finally visited the next day I needed an emergency doctors appointment for a prescription.
I wasn't offered any post natal classes.
The Health Visitor was friendly and supportive but I was signed off after 6 weeks and haven't seen anyone since.
There are some baby classes but weighing sessions and breastfeeding support has been cut right back due to budget cuts.
Luckily I am fine and well but I can see how women and babies can slip through the net if they need help. The next check is at 1- that's a long time to not see a health visitor.

GetSchwifty · 05/03/2019 12:19

I forgot to add that I did go to a breastfeeding support group run at a children’s centre, and the advice I received there was fantastic. The women running with were happy to sit and help me even after the group had ended.

MakeTeaNotWar · 05/03/2019 13:27

I received excellent care with both pregnancies and was actively encouraged to go for a home birth my second. This was a great decision for us and the support, care and attention we received was faultless

Sarah8418 · 05/03/2019 14:02

I had my first little boy almost a year ago now. Similar to the above responses my whole maternity care was inadequate and poor in places. I started off living in an area where the local hospital maternity services had been removed due to the governments "making it better' scheme.

As a result I was in a black hole of care throughout my pregnancy.
At 5 weeks I started to experience extreme sickness. By week 7 I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum and had it till my labour. I had to travel further for antenatal admissions to hospital to gain treatment and my community care was basic. I suffer from depression as I had an abusive childhood. I had to chase for a referral to a specialist mental health midwife which was very difficult in the heights of the HG. I was housebound for 4 months, couldn't work and became even more depressed. Medics told me when I was admitted to hospital after vomiting for days that I should consider a termination. I already had because I was so ill. I was promised mental health support in hospital and never recieved any. I relied heavily on a charity called pregnancy sickness support, I'm now a volunteer peer supporter for them.

The birth was on a mlu. Towards the end I was in transition for a long time. I was moved to the labour ward and laid on a stretcher to monitor fetal heart rate, which was fine. Because of the position I was out in I had a 3rd degree tear which took 2 hours to stitch and as a result I wasn't allowed skin to skin with my baby. I struggled to breastfed and was kept on the ward for 4 days postnatally for support but every midwife had a different opinion or technique and it was confusing. Nobody told me about 'baby blues' so when it hit me I was really depressed. Again staff didn't help and after missing converting his weight at birth, they thought he'd lost more weight than he had and ran all sorts of tests and forced me into giving him formula because I was told I was starving him.

I self discharged home, slept (I'd had 3 hrs since the birth!) Ate well and in my own environment my milk came in and I got used to being a new mum.

Due to the sale of our house we had to move areas. Because of this I had a different health visitor who was awful. She didn't know any of my past medical history and talked over me. Luckily in that area was a peer support network for breastfeeding. Without them I wouldn't have been able to continue.

In a nutshell, I believe the following would have made all the difference to me.
*Greater understanding and compassion for women suffering from HG
*Day units for treatment for HG in all NHS trusts - or give nurses the ability to treat patients at home with IV fluids
*A dedicated midwife throughout your pregnancy that also attends your labour where able.
*Breastfeeding support needs to be provided/improved in every trust nationwide. Women are being greatly let down by a postcode lottery.
*Health visitors postnatally need to help those not just at risk of safeguarding or those who may be in a more deprived area. They do seem to neglect middle class women, assuming they'll be ok.

Valkarie · 05/03/2019 17:09

Experience of second baby was better than first, but that was at least in part down to me refusing to be pushed around or given unnecessary checks and interventions. Despite not agreeing with all of their advice, I believe we are in a good area for health visitor provision and have always been easy to access. Post natal breastfeeding support has been cut in my area since my first child, but I didn't need it this time. The local children's centre is very good.

What is really missing is maternal health check up and support after birth. Carrying babies causes damage and there is no support at all such as physio, health check etc. They just ticked a box saying no depression, but physical health not considered.

WilsonandNoodles · 05/03/2019 21:01

I have a son who is 2 and am currently pregnant.
Our health visitor area was changed soon after my son turned 1. I have only just been informed of this change as my sons 30 month check information has come through so if I had needed a health visitor in the last year and a half I wouldn't have known who to contact. Ignoring that other aspectd of his early years care has been good. Postnatally I had complications and my care from the hospital, midwives and gps was all of high standard. I visited our original health visitors at weigh in clincs and always got any help I required. More recently my son has required additional medical support and hospital admissions. His treatment was of high quality and we were never left with unanswered concerns.
My current care has felt well supported but with a lack of communication on multiple episodes. I have required consultant led care. I started at one hospital in which I would wait for hours for appointments to see a different doctor each time, often very junior who needed to then go back and consult with someone senior. Each time I would spend most of the appointment going over the same history and actually getting any of my questions answered or a plan in place for this pregnacy. I moved hospitals and since have seen the same doctor on each visit and felt very comfortable with my treatment. My midwives have been the opposite, initially staeting seeing the same midwife each time who I felt knew me and was able to identify any concerns straight away. For my last few appointments I have seen a different midwife each time apparently as they are now been required to do shifts at the hospital. I doubt that without relooking at my notes any of them could state my multiple health problems and don't know me at all. I even had to remind this weeks midwife to test my urine and take my blood pressure, not very reassuring. After having some serious symptoms related to my health conditions shrugged off as sometimes that happens from her I saw the gp and was sent straight to the hospital. I haven't yet had any contact from the health visitor for this baby (currently 36 weeks pregnant).

Cakeandslippers · 05/03/2019 22:52

My support has mainly come from friends. My antenatal care was ok, I was never given the chance to discuss birth options or a birth plan though. I did go to a parent craft day at my hospital where I think they should have told us most people don't in fact get to use the birth centre they showed us and will instead have a highly medicalised birth. They also spent ages telling us the worst thing you can do in labour is lie on your back.... but when it can't to my labour they insisted on monitoring me and the midwife wouldn't let me move from my back (no medical reason just due to the monitors being wired).
I went to NCT which was good and helpful and v good to meet people but in hindsight painted a very rosy view of labour and the early days. I also went to aquanatal which was run by the hospital and was really good, I met people there too...I wish it had been at a time outside of office hours though as it excluded most people being mid- morning.
Post-natally I really need some breastfeeding support but there's nothing where I live except a breastfeeding cafe which is only accessible to me by car and so was not something I felt up to in the first couple of weeks. I went about 6 weeks pp and it was not really helpful..bit scary as unclear who the leaders were - more like a coffee morning I only got a few minutes advice and a leaflet.
HV a complete waste of time. 2 brief visits and been told that's it now, I just ring if I need them in the next 4 years.... but need them for what?! No idea what they are for really!

GemmeFatale · 06/03/2019 00:19

26 weeks pregnant with our first so I can’t cover everything, but so far I’m unimpressed.

First call to book in I was told the midwife wouldn’t see me until 20 weeks. I persisted because the fertility clinic insisted I have an appointment before they closed off on me but I suspect other women dropped through the cracks as a result of that message being pushed by the reception team.

Our maternity unit moved area in the hospital around the time of my 12 week scan. Everytime I go in the ‘recent’ move is used as an excuse for the chaos the pace seems to be in. Nothing runs to time, no one seems to know where anything is, it’s not a calming, safe environment at all.

I’ve seen the physio once and need to go again. I was told by the physio and the midwife I can just call and make an appointment but the receptionist won’t allow this and wants me to go back through the online self referral form. Why?

At my last midwife appointment someone was covering my usual midwife. I recognise I’m anxious about this pregnancy (ivf), I asked for it to be put in my notes, but she was incredibly rude and dismissive of my concerns. She also managed to cancel a consultant appointment that needed re booking, and told me I couldn’t have a c section or a birth choices clinic appointment (what happened to the birth being my choice?). She thoroughly disapproved of me choosing to not take an NCT class and took pains to tell me about her 30 years of experience several times. Despite apparently knowing it all, she didn’t know I needed something from her to access the local nappy library and was reluctant to help. I left without feeling reassured baby is ok and without answers to my questions.

Usual midwife is ok, but clearly doesn’t really have time for anything beyond the basics so no help there. I’m aware I’m supposed to have a birth plan by now but I don’t because I have no faith it will be followed.

Our local hospital recently changed its policy to allow fathers to stay overnight on the maternity unit. I can only imagine this has something to do with the recent report stating that the unit is woefully under staffed and the new mums need more support. I’m really not happy about this, but what can we do?

Basically we’re managing because I know to make a fuss until I get what we need. I have no idea how my younger, less confident self would have coped.

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